One of the greatest things you can choose to do for your baby is to put them on a schedule. Not any old schedule, but a schedule that helps them eat consistently, wake at normal times, sleep better, and nap longer. I’ll show you how to create a flexible baby schedule that is right for you and your family!
A baby schedule doesn’t have to be a rigorous weight on the day, but if done right, can be flexible to your day and environment!
A flexible baby schedule is an absolute treasure because it gives you the structure of a schedule that your baby needs but also leaves room for all of the different things life throws at you each day. Such as going out, staying over a relative’s house, eating out, napping in the car, going on vacation, etc.
I define a flexible baby schedule as a schedule that your baby can stick to no matter where you go and can function the same in almost any situation.
Building flexibility into your baby’s schedule is super easy to do and will save you so much headache in the long run! Just because your baby is on a schedule doesn’t mean that your life has to be over or so rigorously planned that you miss out on life.
Your goal is to build a schedule for your baby that it goes with the flow of your life but also that is structured so you can anticipate your baby’s daily needs.
To help you start a perfect flexible schedule for you and your baby, I created the Mommy & Me All-In-One Planner! The Mommy & Me Planner has everything you need to not only start a schedule with your baby also helps you track your baby’s including naps, feedings, and playtime, AND comes with 10 different planner template pages to help you plan your personal activities, to do list and agenda!
Download the Mommy & Me All-In-One Planner Now!
So let’s get down to it!
How to Make a Structured But Flexible Baby Schedule
First things first, if you’re not totally convinced on WHY your baby needs a schedule, then check out my post all about the importance of a schedule for your baby and how it benefits your baby and you!
Starting Your Schedule
The key to having a flexible schedule is to actually have a schedule. Some parents think that you make a schedule and THEN put your baby on it. But it’s actually the opposite.
To start a great schedule that works for you and your baby, you want to first document what your baby is doing and at what time each day. Do this for about 2-3 days so you can see some consistency.
Then you want to take those activities and those times and tweak them to make a schedule that works for you and your baby. Insert the times that your baby eats, sleeps, wakes and plays into a houred schedule.
For example, if you see that your baby is eating every 2-3 hours and then napping afterward and then waking to play then you want to make that into a schedule. But then you see that your baby is entering their nighttime sleep at inconsistent times.
Then, you make a schedule that will allow your baby to eat every 3 hours, ultimately ending with the last feeding being at 8pm so you know that every night your baby will be put down for bed at that same time.
You also want to make sure that you are adding in your nap and bedtime routines every day so your baby can get used to a particular routine for sleeping. Read all about the importance of nap routines and how to start one here!
Spend 7 consistent days doing the schedule and routines that you found work
Now that you are starting your baby on a schedule, you want to reinforce the schedule by doing in consistently each day. It won’t be like this very long, but you want to make sure that at least for 5-7 days you are following the same schedule and routines. This will get your baby used to the times that are feedings, playtimes, and naps.
Having a schedule that is consistent will help your baby feel comforted because they know what will happen next. And it’s ultimately beneficial for you too because you can, in turn, know what to expect from your baby each day and at each time of the day!
For each activity on your schedule, start a routine
I personally believe that routines are the main reason schedules work. Having a routine for each activity in your baby’s schedule will help your baby know that no matter where they are or what they are doing that it is time for a particular activity. This, in turn, is the lifeline for having a flexible baby schedule.
The key to adding flexibility to your baby’s schedule is having routines! There are usually 3 main activities that will make up your baby’s overall schedule: feeding, sleeping, and wake time. You want to have a consistent routine for each of these 3 things.
For example, you would want to make a solid nap routine to help your baby know it’s time to nap and a feeding routine to help your baby know it’s feeding time. Then a playtime routine to help your baby know it’s playtime and wake time. Lastly, a solid bedtime routine to help your baby know it’s time for nighttime sleep.
Want to steal my nap routine that has helped my baby take long and consistent daily naps?? Click here!
Add in one activity that you do occasionally to that consistent schedule
Because a flexible baby schedule is a structured schedule that you can do anywhere, you need to start slowly adding in different scenarios and situations to your baby’s schedule so your baby can get used to the flexibility.
Some different scenarios include napping in the car during a trip to the store, sleeping in a pack and play at grandma’s house, napping in the stroller during a shopping trip instead of napping in the crib, eating out at a restaurant, etc.
Choose one activity that you know you will eventually be doing and add that activity to your baby’s schedule. Be sure to do that same routine for the activity. For example, if your baby is sleeping over at a family members house in a pack un ay instead of a crib, make sure to do the same bedtime routine. This will bring comfort to your baby because it is something familiar to them in the midst of being in an unfamiliar situation.
I recommend you only do one a week so your baby isn’t overloaded with too many unstable environments at the same time.
Continue to add one of those activities each week
Like in the step above, you want to add one new environment or activity a week to help build flexibility into your baby’s schedule. This way, because your baby is so accustomed to the structured schedule and solid routines, they will be able to follow the schedule no matter where they are or where they go.
This can be so liberating because a lot of parents think that because you have a baby that your life is over because everything revolves around your baby. And this is somewhat true, but it doesn’t mean that you are confined to your house and stuck waiting every 3 hours to feed your baby.
Adding flexibility to your baby’s schedule helps you stay sane as well get your baby acclimated to your life. You want your baby to become a part of your daily life, not have your life completely stop just because you have a baby. Having a flexible baby schedule help you do this!
If you want to see what my baby’s daily schedule looks like, click here!
Free Mommy & Me All-In-One Planner
The Ultimate Mommy & Baby Planner is a 10-page, all-in-one resource to help you easily plan your days, weeks, and months all while tracking your baby’s schedule, feedings, naps, and activities! Master your flexible baby schedule by tracking your baby’s activities AND in the same place plan your to-do list, agenda, and appointments!
I designed the planner to help you:
- Create a daily schedule for your baby so you can see your baby’s patterns and allow those patterns to help you anticipate your baby’s needs.
- Track your baby’s feedings, including how much they ate and what they ate so you never have to forget what they ate.
- Track your baby’s naps so you can see how long your baby is napping and at what time. This helps you create a nap routine that can help your baby sleep longer and consistently!
- Create an overall schedule for your baby that is structured yet flexible to your family’s needs.
- Easily plan your days, weeks, months, and even year so you can clearly see your schedule at a whole!
- Focus on your day to day tasks, including to-do lists, appointments, and chores so you never forget to do anything!
- Complete your tasks easily and effortlessly and be able to check things off your to-do list!
Get your free Mommy & Me All-In-One Planner Now!
Well, there you have it! Here are all the tips and steps to make a structured and consistent yet flexible baby schedule!
Remember, your goal is to build a schedule for your baby that it goes with the flow of your life but also that is structured so you can anticipate your baby’s daily needs. Flexibility will help ease your baby’s schedule and not make it feel so rigorous and exact.
As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me via my contact page!
Do you have a flexible baby schedule?? Let us know all about it in the comments below!
Wait! Do you love free printables??
Become part of the Mastering Mom Life Insider tribe and get instant, FREE, private access to my resource library filled with printables + worksheets to make mom life easier!